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Science
16 May 2017

ISRO to launch India's most powerful rocket next month

ISRO's heaviest rocket GSLV MK-III readies for takeoff

Come June, ISRO is going to launch the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark-III; its most powerful rocket, capable of carrying a much heavier load than its predecessors. In its first mission, it will be carrying a 3.2 tonnes heavy satellite.

VSSC's K. Sivan said, "Our 12 years of labor is expected to bear fruit this June."

Here's all you need to know.

In context

ISRO's heaviest rocket GSLV MK-III readies for takeoff
The new rocket is a "game changer"

GSLV MK III

The new rocket is a "game changer"

This launch is being pitched as a "game changer" by ISRO and if successful, this will be a pivotal step for India to become self-reliant in space programs.

Currently, ISRO can launch payloads of up to 2.2 tonnes with the GSLV Mark II but to launch anything above that weight, India has to avail foreign carriers incurring a huge fee.

Development

Making major headway in space exploration

Now, with the 640-tonnes GSLV Mark III ISRO can carry up to 4.4 tonnes heavy satellites to space.

This new rocket, which has been under development for 12-years, will now act as a carrier to propel Indian crew vehicles in outer space and will also enable ISRO to launch communications spacecraft to geostationary orbits of 36,000 km.

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Maiden mission of the GSLV Mark III

Technology

Maiden mission of the GSLV Mark III

GSLV Mark III's satellite will carry a Ka and Ku-band payload and a Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) to the space to study the nature of charged particles and influence of space radiation.

This also marks the usage of several advanced space techs, such as bus subsystem experiments in electrical propulsion system, indigenous Li-ion battery, indigenous bus bars for power distribution etc.

Gift

Modi's "satellite" gift to neighbors in South Asia

Earlier this month Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a communication satellite to South Asian countries for sharing, which was launched using via GSLV-Mk 11.

This South Asian satellite is slated to help the participant countries by providing them television services and communications technology for bank ATMs and e-governance and it'll also serve as a backup for cellular networks at places with weak terrestrial connectivity.

ISRO aims to increase frequency of satellite launches

India

ISRO aims to increase frequency of satellite launches

ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said that ISRO wants to increase the frequency of launches from seven to twelve per year.

The space agency also plans to undertake a second mission to the moon, "All the developments required for that, all the variable thrust engines, lander, rover....all that work is going on and we are getting ready for this launch," Kumar said.

Rifath Sharook

The lightest satellite in the world

An 18-year-old Indian student from Tamil Nadu, Rifath Sharook has designed the KalamSat satellite that weighs only 64gm and will be launched from a NASA facility on June 21.

"The main role of the satellite will be to demonstrate the performance of 3D printer carbon fiber," explained Sharook, whose design was selected through a NASA-organized competition called 'Cubes in Space.'

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